We find ourselves in Scorpio Season, the best time to start with Shadow Work! So, what is shadow work? This is personal, deep work that we should be engaged in for the rest of our lives. We are born with talents, traits, and more. As we grow up, some of these traits get repressed as children; we seek a way to belong and be accepted by those around us. These traits can be anything, from an artistic inclination to career choices, things that bring us joy, and much more.
A good example is a little boy who wants to be a dancer and enjoys dancing, born in an environment where this is discouraged or looked upon as a “girl-only” activity. The little boy then suppresses his dance part to embrace things that are more accepted by his environment. The same can be said for a little girl who may be loud, boisterous, and has a big personality. In her environment, she may have to repress this to a more “acceptable” level of having a big personality.
We all have shadows and not all result from our upbringing. They can result from our experiences in school, with friends, relationships, and more. Chances are shadows are born daily in the work environment and your current relationships. For example, if you speak up in a meeting and end up being shot down by a co-worker, you may hesitate to bring any new ideas up again; thus, a shadow is born.
Thankfully, as we become aware of these things, we can work hard to make changes. Shadow work is the process in which we recognize these shadows and find a way to re-integrate them back into ourselves in a healthy and accepting way.
Our shadows can have a big or small impact on our lives. They can lead to alcoholism, drug abuse, and other serious addictions, low expectations, an inability to set good boundaries, a lack of joy and happiness in our lives, and everything else in between. Shadow work is never done because our shadows keep changing. But staying on top of it is an excellent way to build a healthier life, increase your happiness, and find your authenticity!
Starting Shadow Work Spread
The Spread is a great tool for starting Shadow Work. You can use it with Tarot or Oracle cards. I find it helpful to keep a journal to track my progress.
1. Area of your Life
This first house gives insight into which area of your life is most affected by your shadows. This can be a recent shadow or even an old one. This shadow is causing you the most problems right now, either in how you feel about yourself or interact with others. This shadow can also create a feeling of being “blocked in life” or even unable to manifest your goals.
2. How does it affect me?
This house speaks to how this Shadow manifests in your life. What are the effects it is currently having? Does it impact how you relate to others or the confidence in yourself? Is it affecting your ability to have a healthy relationship with your partner or family? Perhaps it is standing in the way of you getting ahead at work or in your business. There are many ways that a shadow can manifest in our lives, and sometimes, these effects can look nothing like the Shadow itself.
Sometimes, our shadows can keep us from tapping into our strengths. These are generally personal blockages that can keep us in the dark about parts of our lives. Is your shadow standing in the way of your creativity? Is it keeping your love of cooking suppressed? Or is it keeping you from learning a new skill that may bring career advancement? This house speaks directly to what positive parts of yourself are absconded in shadow, making it hard for you to access them.
It is fascinating to think about how our shadows affect how we respond to and perceive the world. These shadows can trigger internal negative qualities that can make us short-tempered, struggle with addiction, or prevent us from fully trusting our partners or others. It is quite common for our shadows to manifest in ways that result in overreactions to situations, causing us to behave in moody and anxious ways. Overcoming these shadows can be an essential first step towards improving our relationships, boosting our self-esteem, and achieving personal growth.
5. Where do I start?
This house gives you some insight into how to begin your shadow work. Do you need to work on self-acceptance? Perhaps you must start working on your creativity at home via writing, cooking, music, or painting. Maybe you start by openly communicating about your feelings with a friend, partner, or family member. Or even your first step is to recognize that you have a shadow and understand how it affects you and how you interact with the world. This house is meant to provide clues on beginning the work – it is not a step-by-step guide.
6. Small Victories
As you begin this work, how can you measure your progress? Remember that this progress will happen slowly, and your victories may be much smaller than anticipated! For example, maybe you were able to keep your temper in check in a situation where you would have usually lost it. Maybe you felt good enough about an idea to put it into practice! Perhaps you had a moment of peace or joy during the day when that is not normal. It is crucial to notice and document these small victories. This is how we know we are on the right path and how we can measure our progress. It motivates us to continue the work, which is the point of all Shadow work.
Remember, we are constantly changing and improving. The goal of Shadow Work is to make you stronger happier, and feel good about yourself and your interactions with others. It doesn’t mean life will suddenly cease to have difficulties or even points of failure. It just means you can navigate these better, with a better attitude and support from those around you.